State Budget and SRS Furloughs End — Weekly Update from Sen. Tom Young – May 21, 2013 to May 27, 2013

The State Senate is in session with regular session ending on Thursday, June 6. The Senate will meet later in June to address any budget vetoes. I hope that you find this update helpful and informative. If I can help you with an issue, please let me know.

Memorial Day: On Saturday, my family and I participated in the Aiken Memorial Day Parade. The Aiken Memorial Day Parade is the largest parade of its kind in the State and the local Marine Corps League does a great job with making sure that it goes well. Also, I participated as a speaker yesterday at the Memorial Day ceremony at the Aiken County Veterans’ Monument. I hope that you enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend and paused to think about those who gave themselves in the service of our nation and those who risk their lives each day so that we can enjoy freedom and the blessings we have in the United States.

Good News! – SRS Reprogramming: Today, the impacted workforce at SRS returns to full work status with no reduction in pay. This is good news for many local families and our community.

State Budget

State Budget: The Senate met into the evening three days last week spending hours debating a number of proposed amendments to the budget. At 11:00 pm last Thursday night, the Senate passed the budget 31-6 on second reading. The Senate still has to vote on each individual section of the budget, pass the budget on third reading, and consider the Capital Reserve Fund Bill. That work will most likely take at least two full days this week. The Senate returns at 10:00 am today.

Medicaid Expansion: Last Tuesday, the Senate debated Medicaid expansion for several hours before voting 23-19 to table a budget amendment authorizing the state to accept the expansion. I voted to table and do not support expansion. Currently, without expansion, Medicaid is the largest portion of the state budget projected to cost us $6.47 Billion this coming fiscal year alone. At this amount, Medicaid spending – without expansion – will have increased over $500 Million from the current fiscal year to next.

Other Budget Highlights: Some notable provisions in the current budget as it currently stands in the Senate are as follows:

  • Roads and Bridges: After hours of debate, an agreement was reached to provide $50 Million in recurring funds to SCDOT with the money being used by the State Infrastructure Bank to bond up to $500 Million in highway improvements. This was significant because it involves a commitment of $50 Million in recurring (continuing each year) funds. Doing this creates a new revenue stream for road and bridge improvements that the State can use for up to $500 Million in bonds without raising the gas tax.
  • School Buses: Another $23.5 million to purchase new school buses to help replace a portion of the state’s aging fleet.
  • 4K Kindergarten: Currently, 36 school districts with high poverty rates have optional 4K. This expansion will add an additional 17 districts representing all of the remaining districts in the state where more than 75 percent of the students in those districts qualify for free or reduced lunch based on federal guidelines. Aiken County School District is at 71 percent.
  • School Choice: A one year proviso allows up to $5 Million statewide in tax credits to provide scholarships to special needs children attending qualifying private schools. Also, another proviso allows private school teachers to deduct up to $275 in school supplies purchased out of pocket just as public school teachers are allowed to do now under current law.
  • Local Government Fund: Approved $30 million additional funds for aid to local governments after the Senate Finance Committee removed $20 million out of the House version of the budget. Counties get 83.278% of the amount appropriated and Cities get 16.722% of the amount appropriated. The most recent census is used for the specific distribution to each county and municipality.

Additional Budget Thoughts: The Senate returns today at 10 am to finish work on the budget. If you would like to provide input to me on a particular budget item, please do so as soon as possible by emailing me at

Other Local Topics of Interest

Aiken County Public Library Summer Reading Program: The annual summer reading program for children through the 5th grade has started at the Aiken County Public Library. The Program runs through early August. Children who read the required number of books will receive a medal and a certificate of completion. Reading is essential to doing well in school. Please encourage as many young people as you can to read this summer. For more information, call the Aiken County Public Library at 642- 2020 or go here.

Palmetto Amateur Tournament in Aiken: The 2013 Palmetto Amateur golf tournament will be in Aiken at the Palmetto Golf Club from June 5 to 8. The event is one of the top amateur golf events in the United States. To learn more about the event, go here.

Prevent High School Dropouts – Volunteers Needed: The Choices program is a local program being used in Aiken County middle schools with eighth graders to encourage more children to finish high school. Several local businesses and individuals have volunteered their time. The program needs more volunteers. If you are willing to volunteer, please email Debbie Hubbard at or call her at 593-7300. To learn more about the program, go here.

Regulations –Comments Encouraged: Governor Haley recently issued an Executive Order requiring all state agencies to review statutes, rules, regulations and policies for their effects on South Carolina’s economy. The Governor also set up a task force to review regulations and to recommend ways to reduce, improve, and simplify regulatory burdens. The group’s report is due November 15, 2013. Public comments are encouraged. To provide comments to the Governor’s Task Force on any regulation, email the task force at

Constituent Information

Legislative Email Updates: Locally, three members of the House of Representatives, who represent portions of Aiken County within Senate District 24, send regular email updates. Their respective contact information to get on their email lists to receive their email updates are as follows:

Congressman Joe Wilson Contact Information: Congressman Wilson now represents all of Aiken County. He has staff in Aiken County with office hours in Aiken and in North Augusta. His office number is 608-9747.

Speaking with Groups Around the District: If you are involved with a local group that would like for me to attend a meeting to provide a legislative update, please let me know.

Report Waste, Fraud and Abuse in State Government: To report waste, fraud and abuse in state government, you can call: 1-855-SC-FRAUD.

Facebook: I have a Facebook page for Senator Tom Young. Please “like” the page to receive updates during the week from me on Facebook.

Tom Young’s Website: My website can be reached at There are links to a variety of constituent services; the status of sponsored bills; and roll call votes. Please add my web site as a bookmark on your computer.

Small Business Help – SC Dept. of Commerce: The South Carolina Department of Commerce has helpful information for small business owners and employees. To learn more, go here.

Save for College – Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan: South Carolina’s 529 College Savings Plan Future Scholar offers special tax benefits for South Carolina residents. To learn more or to enroll, gohere. 

Request a Flag: If you would like to request a state or U.S. flag flown over the State Capitol in Columbia, please let me know at Flags vary in cost according to their size and their material from which they are made.

State House Tours: Tours are available for the S.C. State House by calling (803) 734-2430. If you set a tour between January and June and it is on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, please let me know so I can do my best to see you.

Thoroughbred Country– South Carolina Regional Tourism Organization: To learn more about tourism in the four county region of Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, and Barnwell, visit here.

Email Updates: If you know of people in or around District 24 who do not receive my updates but they would like to get them, please email their names and email addresses to me.

Road Issues: If you see a road problem such as a pothole needing repair, call the SCDOT at 641-7665 or Aiken County at 642-1532 to report the problem. If you do not get a prompt response, please let me know at or call me. Generally, most paved roads in the County are maintained by SCDOT and are identified on the road sign poles by a small black and white sign listing the road number, such as S-2-1669. Most unpaved roads in the County are maintained by the County.

Thank you for the opportunity and the honor to represent you. Please let me know if I can help you in any way or if you have questions about these or other issues. Your feedback is meaningful and appreciated.
Tom Young
649-0000 (o)
215-3631 (cell)


Paid for by Tom Young for Senate


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